Saturday, May 22, 2010

Charley Patton the Founder of the Delta Blues - The Legend Lives On

By Bruce B Lamb

Though he used to write his name as Charlie Patton, yet popularly called Charley, is considered as the father of the American Delta Blues genre. This style is one of the oldest renditions of the blues and hence it made Charley Patton as one of the best known figures of American Popular Music. Said to be been born in the year 1887 and died in 1934, Charlie Patton is still considered one of the most influential figures of American music.

Charley and the Early Years of Delta Blues: The Origin of the Genre

Charlie Patton was born in Hinds County, Mississippi and spent most of his life in the Mississippi Delta. He did most of his work in the Delta Blues style from here and for that reason this style was also known as the Mississippi Delta Blues style of music. Most of that area was covered with extremely fertile land, yet poverty was rampant. The socio-economic conditions became the soul of this genre. The cigar box guitar, guitar and harmonica formed the base for this genre's music.

The Unique style that separated it from other country blues: The Differentiating Factor

Although there was not much of a subsequent rhythmic difference between Charlie Patton's style and other country blues to have originated at the same time, most of the areas had the same cultural background, yet the Mississippi Delta Blues stood out because of its harmonic structure and themes that talked exhaustively about the travelling musicians' life, sexuality and life in the delta. Women also had a part in this style, but only a few made names for themselves.

The Accolades for Charlie Patton and Delta Blues Style: Accolades even after his Death

In 2001, Revenant records released a 5-CD feature called Screamin' and Hollerin' Blues - The Worlds of Charley Patton. This included both the released and unreleased works of Charlie Patton and his partners. This became an instant hit among the discerning music population and such was the magic of the genius after so many years, this album became a proud winner of not 1, but 3 Grammy Awards in 2003.

Not just a musician, but a proper showman, Charlie Patton was a charismatic figure who changed the course of American Popular Music. He was so down to earth that he gave blues guitar lessons to the local enthusiasts, and at the same time became a larger than life figure with his raw and energetic voice. Famed musicologist Robert Palmer has praised the contribution of the man popularly called Charley Patton and his legend lives on forever.

Bruce Lamb grew up in a very musical and creative family and has been playing guitar for over forty years. He is the founder of The Guitar Workshop a DVD course and an online and instructional learn to play guitar website. Visit for awesome learn to play guitar lessons. Also check out the crazy videos if you're ever thinking about taking your guitar on an airline.

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